Today, I'm answering your questions about panic attacks: What to do with them, and how to overcome them! And to make things even sweeter, I'll be introducing you to Annie, a former Panic to Peace student who helps me run things behind the scenes. And I'm SO excited for you to meet her!
Annie has struggled with anxiety most of her life, but her first panic attack was only a year ago! Her panic eventually became so debilitating that she struggled to leave her house for months. After taking Panic to Peace, she has been facing her panic and fears with so much more confidence. Today, she no longer lets panic stand in her way. And ultimately, Annie's experience with anxiety landed her on this podcast episode!
After some careful review of the A Healthy Push community's questions, Annie asks me some of the most common questions about panic attacks. So let's talk about them!
Learning to Recognize the Unhelpful Thoughts That Lead to Panic Attacks
In the beginning, it can be really difficult to recognize when our thoughts are fueling a panic attack. In response, you might try to stop the thoughts altogether…but this only keeps them coming back. This might sound crazy…but instead, I want you to stop trying to stop the unhelpful thoughts! When you’re doing the hard things, those thoughts will probably be there. It’s really about changing how we respond to these thoughts. The goal here is to allow the unhelpful thoughts to be there, all while you carry on with the things that are important to you.
And with time, you will become aware of the what-ifs and thoughts that keep you feeling stuck. As you practice allowing the thoughts to be there, it’ll be much easier for you to stop fueling them. And by this, I mean feeding into the what-ifs and fears! Annie mentioned that she felt anxious about coming onto the podcast for the first time and that the old her would’ve avoided the discomfort of it all. But with lots of practice, she was able to allow the fears to be there, all while pursuing the things that matter to her!
Drop the Worry About Potentially Having a Panic Attack
Any recovered person will tell you that there’s never a point when panic attacks aren’t uncomfortable! So I want to remind you that disliking panic attacks doesn’t mean you’re not recovering. It’s okay that they’re not fun! And it’s okay if you’re scared of them. But the more you allow the panic to come and go, the less scary it will eventually become. You’ll likely experience panic attacks out of the blue sometimes, but they don’t have to mean anything about you, your recovery, or what you’re capable of!
If you’re trying everything in your power to prevent a panic attack, know that you certainly aren’t alone! But I want you to know that this prevention isn’t what’s keeping you safe. In fact, nothing you’ve ever done to try to stop a panic attack has protected you. You’ve been safe all along. And with time, you can change your relationship with the uncomfortable thoughts and panic.
Overcoming the Most Intense Moment of a Panic Attack
If you’ve ever had a panic attack, you know that moment I’m talking about! The moment during a panic attack, when you feel like you cannot handle it anymore, can be so difficult. So it’s important for you to know that in these moments, it’s okay for you to take care of yourself. It’s okay to not get everything right. And it’s okay to do what you need to do to work through it! With time, you’ll be able to work up to navigating these difficult moments with more ease.
Recently, a client of mine felt defeated when she had to call her sister during an intense panic attack she had while stuck in traffic. But I reminded her that looking for support isn’t a failure, especially when she was already doing the hard thing! She let herself go there, and she let the panic be as intense as it wanted to be. And eventually, the panic passed, as it always does!
If you’ve found this Q&A about panic attacks helpful, you can get even more free weekly support from me directly in your inbox when you sign up for my email newsletter! Each week, I’ll provide you with tips, tools, and affirmations to help you along your own anxiety recovery journey.
Don't forget to listen to the podcast for the full episode with Annie!
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